During the Advent Season, we remember that the Holy Family was a migrant family – on the move to Bethlehem and then to Egypt to escape Herod’s threat to kill the newborn Jesus.
The Missionaries of the Precious Blood were also immigrants, coming to Ohio from Italy in 1844.
While we reflect on the Congregation’s history, we are also aware of modern-day migrants in our communities and around the world. Do these migrants receive the same positive welcome that the C.PP.S. priests and brothers received from the German immigrants who they served in Ohio? Unfortunately for many of them, the answer is no.
Though people migrate for a variety of reasons, such as the Precious Blood did for ministry, or for better work or educational opportunities, some are forced to flee life-threatening war, natural disasters, persecution and poverty. They leave behind family members and the familiarity of their homeland. How frightening it must be, not knowing where they will end up or how they will attain food, water and shelter.
What are our attitudes towards strangers seeking to live among us? As Christians, we are called to welcome the stranger, and when we do so, we welcome God in person. Through God’s grace, we can overcome our fear and our concerns about refugees and immigrants and look for the face of Jesus in our migrant brothers and sisters. In doing this, we will be made richer through their gifts of culture and faith.
Pope Frances calls us to walk with migrants and refugees in support and solidarity through the two-year campaign launched In September called “Share the Journey.” The Holy Father said, “We must strive and ask for the grace to create a culture of encounter that restores to each person his or her own dignity.”
One way you can participate in Share the Journey is to join the U.S. Bishops and urge Congress to pass the DREAM Act (S. 1615/H.R. 3440) to protect young immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, from deportation. And always, your prayers are needed for the 65 million vulnerable, displaced people in our world today.
Like migrants around the world, we too, are on a journey to God. Let us accompany one another, like the biblical innkeeper who assisted the Holy Family, offering help and refuge to those in need.
(By Colleen Kammer, Coordinator of Peace, Justice and Ecology)